‘Pity those who do not know Rafi or Kishore’

M.J. Akbar in Deccan Herald:

“Who can ignore the fact that India’s growth rate was three per cent in the age of melody and is nine per cent in the age of sound?

“The pecking order of the senses has changed along with sensibilities. The ear has surrendered to the foot. You cannot really sing along with most modern Hindi film songs, but you can dance.

“Perhaps the most authentic indicator is the average life of a hit song. Popular music of the sixties and seventies still packs the shelves of shops, and even the fifties get a healthy look-in. Current hits are like floodtides. They swamp the market and then disappear. They are suddenly everywhere, and suddenly nowhere.”

Read the full article: Changing face of melody

Also read: If it sounds good to your ear, it’s Carnatic music

‘Carnatic music can innovate, expand, grow’

It’s a cliche but, truly, music has no boundaries

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32 Responses to “‘Pity those who do not know Rafi or Kishore’”

  1. Magadi Marxist Says:

    Many decades from now people be listening to the melodies of post rafi-kishore era. We have a great many new artists and music genre’s to choose from – AR Rahman, Udit Naryan, Shankar Mahadevan and many other great singers, music directors and composers. Music like wine matures with age. During the times of Rafi and Kishore people used to be nostaligic about K L Saigal and Noorjehan. It is a kind of norm that we always dismiss our present and cling on to the past.
    Many of us who now enjoy the raunchy numbers of Asha Bhosle should remember that it was criticised for being crude and vulgar as compared to the older pure melodies.

  2. shas3n Says:

    I guess the songs we remember from the old age are the ones that stood the test of times. There were as many mediocre songs then, as there are now.
    The best of the current songs/singers will be remembered for the ages to come whereas most of the husk will be forgotten.
    Reminds me a question a girl asked me once: “How come the buildings and castles that are centuries old are still in good condition whereas our 20 year old houses start breaking apart? I guess our ancestors much be much smarter than us”
    I told her “The buildings that were build well then remain for us to see whereas the rest perished”
    I guess as similar logical fallacy is being committed here.

  3. tarlesubba Says:

    excellent explanation shas3.

    meanwhile, this shreya ghosal-jayanth kaikiNi-mano murthy song has been haunting me for a while now:

    too old for all this juvenile stuff but every time i hear shreya sing iniya and geLeya something somewhere gets tugged.

    maLe baruva haagide
    manaveega haaDide
    hrudayadalli kootu neenu nanna kELabEkide

    saviganasu kaaDide
    nasu naguvu mooDide
    kaaNadante nintu neenu nanna noDabEkide

    maLe baruva haagide …

    ninna… naguvinalle nanna nasuku
    ninna roopa dharisi bandu nalidaaDide beLaku
    geLeya … neenu baLige anukshaNavu bEkaagide
    dinake nooru baari neenu preethi hELa bEkide

    saviganasu kaaDide …

    edeya.. baagilalle ninna suLivu
    saNNa.. aaseyalle namma sahavaasada naleevu
    iniya… namma olavu meravaNige horaTaagide
    marethahaage chooru naTisi ninna kaaDabekide

    maLe baruva haagide
    manaveega haaDide
    saviganasu kaaDide
    nasu naguvu mooDide
    hrudayadalli kootu neenu nanna kELa bEkide
    kaaNadante nintu neenu nanna noDabEkide
    maLe baruva haagide

  4. Srikanth Says:

    Why should some one be pity about not knowing Rafi/Kishore.
    There are lot of talented melodious singers down south, and it is this “reality shows” etc which have over hyped music industry.
    I am not undermining talent of either Kishore/Rafi/Lata etc.
    But at the same time, greats like Ghantasala/PB Srinivas never even got the recognition they deserved in national space.

    Media is always north centric, and they never realize anything which happens south of Vindhya unless its a stupid movie of “Rajni sir” and the attempt is to portray all southerners as clowns.

  5. Abhi Says:

    Magadi Marxist, Appriciate your reasoning here. I guess we human beings have something hardwired in us that makes us to be way too nostalgic about the past. That’s the reason we hear people praising movies, singers, sportpersons of yesteryears. Fact is that we human beings are getting better at everything we do, which is logical.

  6. Justfine Says:

    Getting bored of all these past-was-perfect kind of articles already.

  7. gaby Says:

    Well there is different kinds of corpse worshipping- from Rafi/ Kishore / Lata are better than today’s singers to Gandhi/Nehru /Patel were better than todays politicians to The gods of yore are better than the Sathya Sai Babas of today :).

    It seems to me that humans were always mediocre with occasional excellence unlike what Abhi seems to bekieve with fondness!!!

  8. gaby Says:

    I read the article again- its the same boring generic sycophancy we indians do much tooooo often. The author doesnt even have the courtsey to acknowledge the Talat Mehmoods, Mubarak Begums, Suman Kalyanpurs while concocting adolescent mnemonics for his much lauded gods. As commented earlier he doesnt even mention the whole world of Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam Film music.

    If anything is wrong in MJ Akbar’s India it is M J Akbar with no fire in the belly!

  9. Anonymous Guy Says:

    I like all the new bands.

    If you want just bands from Bangalore – Advaitha, Vinapra, Raghu Dixit project and especially Swarathma for hindi and kannada songs.

    Of course there are many others.

    The thing is these bands are gaining expertise not just in singing or playing 1 instrument, but in live music shows where they deliver an experience beyond just standing and singing in a studio.

    And when it comes to recorded music – they are no lesser than anyone else – they are learning the techniques of sound recording, mixing and mastering at the studio with the most cuttting edge techniques. They are assisted by able sound engineers and technicians who have the same love and passion for everything related to music.

    Of course they are also getting good at fusion music, giving music for movies (see Raghu Dixit’s music for the kannada movie psycho – esp. his song Mahadeshwara). Which is a welcome relief to our music scene which till recently seems to have been stuck with one or two singers singing in the same hackneyed styles.

    And jamming with musicians from other parts of India and even those from outside India.

    They are lifting music to the next level.

    All while maintaining their connection to Indian classical and folk music. Even the young classical musicians are willing to collaborate with these bands – and hopefully follow on the trails blazed by people like L Subramaniam, Zakir Hussain etc.

    And the most heartening thing is they have a large group of cool youngster who follow their music and support them. Who are very knowledgeable about music without any airs or complexes.

    What more can we ask for?

    BTW just cant wait for Swarathma’s album to come out – especially since it is being produce by Amit Kilam of Indian Ocean!

  10. Abhi Says:

    I’m with you. Majority aint even mediocre, they just plain stupid. But being a believer in evolution, I guess we are getting better with time :)

  11. Doddi Buddi Says:


    I duly followed the link you provided and I must say I am beginning to feel this dude Manoo Murthy is more like ‘Mono’ Murthy! How can I put it? Oh yes ole Mono Murthy is like Kannada Regaman (Rehaman):) some what boring tunes, same guitar work and Mexican mariachi or using your own lingo Paduvarahalli Mariachi music…

    Nice lyrics though….thanks

  12. Anonymous Guy Says:


    A song from the kannada movie with Raghu Dixit’s music – his voice too:

    ignore the vid :)

  13. tarlesubba Says:

    talking of raghu dixit here is a montage i made for gudu gudiya with visuals from kakana kote.

  14. tarlesubba Says:

    want to post this long time back. total time pass song. full maja.

    some good folks in miami i believe.

  15. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Kakana kote remix – nice. Also brings back memories of the awesome kannada movies once made… and hopefully will be made again in the near future.

    Miami mix – the less said the better.

    BTW when the swarathma album comes out – lets all buy it and show our supports :)

  16. tarlesubba Says:

    hey man thanks.

    but, here, take this hanger and hang that straight jacket. the miami kids did awesomely IMHO.

    anyways, these days there is even a death metal band in kannada. swear to the gods all puny, i even had favorited the link. but guess what, i cannot find it now.

    let me make a little more than the parking meter in my campus. I will buy ever thing. right now restricting myself to books and bootleg movies.

  17. gaby Says:

    One another method of necrophilia/ corpse worshipping of a brilliant past by the mediocre present is the rend of remixes!!

  18. Anonymous Guy Says:


    I have some inside news Swarathma might be touring UK sometime next year. They are one of the bands chosen by John Leckie (part of his India Soundlab project).

    Will let you know beforehand if and when it happens – make sure to be there with all your friends!

  19. Anonymous Guy Says:


    Please dont bootleg the Indian bands :(

    Movie songs are ok – they get their revenues…

    As you can see I am a fan of Swarathma – will post any links when their album is out – on how to buy it (if it is available outside India).

  20. Anonymous Guy Says:


    TS didnt remix music (if you even checked his first link before commenting).

    He took original music by Raghu Dixit and put it on the original Kakana Kote movie.


  21. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Dont tell me you dont know who raghu dixit is…!

    Some people are stuck in the past :)

  22. Gaby Says:

    I wasnt commenting on TS ‘s effort. I was thinking aloud about diffrent ways of Corpse worship we engage in – remixes being one of them and that gives merit to what MJ Akbar is wallowing in.

    No I dont know who Raghu Dixit is. Who is he?

  23. tarlesubba Says:

    raaghaNNa deekishta, is a naaTi mysore singing haida with no known received deekshe in music. although it is known that girish karnad has some influence on the lad.

    aside: i was hoping you would see that montage. could you make out anything? there are two sets of visuals in that. i’ll just stop with that. otherwise people will stone me.

  24. tarlesubba Says:

    my fav raghu dixit

  25. atlknbalaga Says:

    My Favourite too

  26. Anonymous Guy Says:


    For all the opposition to corpse worshipping, you seem to know more about corpses than the living…

  27. Hiker Says:

    Soruthihudu is very good…but guDuguDiya is Raghu Dixit’s best I think.

  28. gaby Says:

    AG when did I say I oppose corpse worshipping- I wallow in it my friend and sometimes feel am a misfit for the Present !

  29. Anonymous Guy Says:


    A few of the bands music: Takes a while to load, and some havent put up their best recordings (after all these are demos):

    Advaitha: http://advaitaonline.net/our_music.html
    They also have their lyrics up.

    Vinapra: http://www.vinapra.com/music_downloads.html
    Short clips – need to buy their CD.

    Raghu Dixit Project – guess you got enough on the youtube links

    And my current favourites (esp. for their energetic live performance and brilliant violinist):
    http://www.swarathma.com/ganas.html – ee bhoomi is in kannada.

    If you like what you listen to – not sure how you can buy music by these bands.

    All are Bangalore bands. Like I said – there are many more up and coming. They are all youthful, connected to our culture, while being hip and cool. All they need is our support. Lots of young classical musicians too – many with their own projects and collaborating to bring better music to the masses. (Seen in this context – banning live music along with the 11:30 ban on drinking/eating places seems meaningless – if anyone had been to the fireflies festival just outside Bangalore will realise that such things are only helping in another renaissance of our culture and not spoiling it in any way).

    Hopefully this will all seep into movie music – which is the only means in our state (and India) with real reach. Looks like our new kannada directors are in fact on the lookout for talent outside of the studio system with one or two dinosaurs belting out song after hackneyed song. Basically the youth want better.

    The future looks bright!

  30. tarlesubba Says:

    sixty five thousand hits for a number belted out in 1987. not bad at all.

    remember, when ajji took us kids to saraswathi talkies to see this film. it was awesome. just going to movies was those days.


    perhaps the kannada’s greatest crossover hit?

    second only to jagadodhaarana i bet.

  31. tarlesubba Says:

    somebody wrote…

    that’s some illegal moves they bustin there!!

    rofl!! i like it when people get excited about stuff.

  32. raju Says:

    What does it matter if rafi or kishore is remembered or not. They have passed away long ago. What difference does it make. Same is the case with southern greats like ghantasala. They have earned a life for themselves by pursuing singing as their career by utilising and exploiting their talent. Each individual has got a talent in his own area. So no body need pity if he does not know either rafi or kishore.

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